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Mr. Whitehouse 12, Brad 8, Mccain 8, Us 8, U.n. 7, Amt 6, Michigan 6, Mr. Reid 6, John Buckley 6, Bob Dole 6, Kerry 6, Mr. Levin 6, U.s. 5, America 5, United States Senate 5, Mr. Buckley 5, Bradley Manning 5, Levin 5, Mr. Harkin 4, Iowa 4,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    December 4, 2012
    5:00 - 8:00pm EST  

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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? hearing none, the yeas are 92, the nays are 6. the mccain amendment numbered 3262 is agreed to as modified. mr. levin: move to reconsider. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i move to lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, amendment numbered 3123 -- the senate will be in order. under the previous order, amendment numbered 3123 as modified is agreed to.
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the clerk will read the bill for the third time. the clerk: calendar 419, s. 3254, a bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2013 for military activities, and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question occurs on s. 3254 as amended. the senator from michigan. mr. levin: madam president, i will take but one minute. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. go ahead. mr. levin: i will take but just one minute. i just feel so grateful and so proud that a tradition of our committee in this senate has been maintained. our 51st cost-effective defense authorization -- 51st consecutive defense authorization bill, a bill that is vitally important to our nation. i'm grateful to our colleagues for working on a bipartisan basis through a normal and open legislative process to produce this bill.
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i'm grateful to stand here with my partner, senator mccain, and work together on this bill, to all of the members of the committee, to our staff, the floor and cloakroom staff. we passed over 100 amendments. it was a process which allowed us to be just as accommodating as we humanly could. again, the balance of my statement will be put into the record, but one person i want to single out is someone who has worked for the committee for 41 years. this will be her last year, chris cower. she is our chief clerk. i just wanted to take an additional two seconds to mention her name as a symbol of the staff that we're so grateful for. i don't know if senator mccain is here but i know that i speak for him about our staffs and about our colleagues on the committee. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the question is on the bill as amended. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to change their vote? if not, on this, yate are 98, the nays are sphere row. the amendment, as amend, is passed. under the previous order, the committecommittee on armed servs discharged from further consideration of h.r. 4310, and the senate will proceed to the consideration of the measure which the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 4310, an act to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2013 and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, all after the enacting clause is stricken, and the text of s. 3254, as
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passed, is inserted in lieu thereof. the clerk will read the title of bill for the third time. the clerk: h.r. 4310, an act to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2013, and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, h.r. 4310, as amended, is agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. under the previous order, the senate insists on its amendment, requests a conference with the house, and the chair appoints the following conferees, which the clerk will report. the clerk: senators levin, lieberman, reed of rhode island, akaka, nelson of nebraska, webb, mccaskill, udall of colorado, hagan, begich, manchin, slay hurricane katrina be, blumenthal, mccain, inhofe, sessions, chambliss, wicker, brown of massachusetts, portman, ayotte, collins, gramm, cornyn, and vitter.
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i move to proceed to h.r. 6516, which is the russia moll did a have a trade agreement. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 552, h.r. 6156, an act to authorize the extension of nondiscriminatory treatment, normal trade relations treatment, to products of the russian federation and moldova and to require reports on the compliance of the russian federation with its obligations as a member of the world trade organization and for other purposes. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from -- mr. mccain: i thank the --
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the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i would like to thank the majority leader for his patience in allowing this legislation to be completed. i would note that there was 145 amendments, and many recorded votes and good debate and discussion over very important issues, and i thank the majority leader for allowing this process to go forward. i also would like to say "thank you" to the majority leader. i would not -- i would like to note the good work of the staff, showing again that work release programs can be successful. mr. reid: if i could just say a word -- the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid:. mr. reid: i will be brief. i was looking for an opportunity to express my appreciation to the two managers of this bill. this has been hard, but they've done an excellent job, and there's nothing more important that we do here than make sure that our fighting men and women
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have the resources to do what they need to do for our country. and there are no two better managers that we can have on this bill than these two fine senators. i appreciate very much their hard work. mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: while the majority leader is here, i just want to add my thanks to the majority leader. this could not have happened without the willingness of the majority leader to take a little bit of risk at this time of year with so few days left. senator mccain and i told the majority leader that we thought we could do it in three days, and i want you to know that we do it in three days. we don't count half-days, and so if we counted half-days, it took us more than three days, i must confess, to the majority leader. but nonetheless, he took a willingness -- you were willing to -- i should say you, the majority leader, was willing to start down this road and we do -- and we did in a unanimous way. i think it's only the second
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time in 51 years that there has been a unanimous vote on a defense authorization bill, and it's because of the willingness and determination of our leadership that we proceed with this bill and that we allow the kind of process to occur that we did and to take the time that we did, an and i'm very grateful. mr. reid: mr. president, i took no risk because levin from michigan and mccain from arizona said we would finish the bill in three days. i took no risk because i knew that's what they would do. basically, they held to their agreement. mr. mccain: again, mr. chairman -- the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i want to thank the majority leader and i want to thank our chairman and i do want to thank our staff tho who worked many, many long house, long after we shut down regular business. they continued to work through -- there was a total of 392 amendments that were filed on this legislation, and i appreciate the hard work and the
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cooperative spirit. it enabled us to not only dispose of the amendments, but also i heard no complaint from any member that their amendment did not get the consideration that they felt it deserved. i think that's pretty remarkable, and i thank them. i suggest the absence of a quorum. oh, i -- i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i want to join in thank the chairman of the armed services committee, senator levin, and the distinguished ranking member, senator mccain, for the extraordinary bipartisan work they have done on this measure and also the accommodation and consideration they've given to all of us who have proposed amendments, as well as to their staff, and the majority leader. it has been an extraordinary work for the national defense and national security of our nation, and on behalf of connecticut, which produces many of the key products involved in
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this bill -- the joint strike fighter, our submarines, the sikorsky helicopter -- we have a great deal of pride in the support that the united states senate has given today to our national defense and the production of such great products, as we do in connecticut. i'm going to ask now unanimous consent that the agriculture, nutrition, and forestry committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 1947 and that the senate proceed to its consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 1947, a bill to prohibit attendance of animal-fighting venture and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. blumenthal: i ask, mr. president, unanimous consent that the blumenthal amendment, which is at the desk, be agreed to and that the bill, as amended, be read a third time.
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the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will read the bill for the thiermd. the clerk: s. 1947, a bill to prohibit attendance of an animal-fighting venture and for other purposes. mr. blumenthal: mr. president, i would like to take just a very brief moment. i recognize the hour is late -- to thank my colleagues, beginning with senators kirk and senator brown, who is here, my distinguished colleagues from illinois and massachusetts, who have done such great work on this measure over many months, as well as to senator cantwell of washington and other colleagues who have cosponsored this measure, including senators collins, feinstein, gillibrand, kerry, landrieu, merkley, mikulski, murray, vitter, and wyden. they are tireless animal advocates, and this bill is
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indeed, the amendment as well, are about ending animal fighting, which plainly and simply is a blood sport. it is something that is cruel and inhumane. it leaves animals scarred and disabled. and it is associated with many other criminal activities. people who attend animal fights are often also engaged in drug dealing, extortion, assault, a variety of criminal activities, and the enabling activity is animal fighting. and that is why this bill increases the penalties for knowingly -- knowingly -- attending an animal fight with a child and, indeed, makes it a crime to knowingly attend an animal fight.
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so these penalties -- stricter penalties for bringing a child knowingly and criminal penalties of up to a year imprisonment or a fine or both for knowingly attending an animal fight -- are contingent on a purposeful support for this cruel and inhumane sport. very simply, it provides new tools to law enforcement through the animal-fighting spectator prohibition act, so that it cannot only eliminate illegal animal fights but also the activities that may be attendant to them and may be even more harmful to the public welfare. these crimes are a federal matter, and they require a federal response because often an animal-fighting ring involves players from many different states, a county sheriff, or a
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local prosecutor simply lacks the authority to root out, apprehend, and effectively prosecute such an operation. this bill has the support of many law enforcement organizations. i thank them, including the federal law enforcement officers association, the fraternal order of police, county sheriffs from across the country have signed on as supporters, along with the american veterinary medical association and the humane society of the united states, and i hope that it will have support from this chamber. i thank the president and i yield the floor. and i would ask for the yeas and nays. apparently i can ask for a voice vote. i would ask for a voice vote. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, the question is on passage of the bill. all those in favor say aye.
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opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the bill as amended is passed. the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: first of all i want to commend and compliment my friend for -- from connecticut for sponsoring this bill and pushing it through. animal fighting is a despicable thing to be engaged in and to think people take their kids there, families, it's just -- it's something we shouldn't be doing and i thank the senator for his leadership on that issue in getting the bill passed. but, mr. president, i just want to take the floor just for a few moments, i know others want to speak and they were kind enough to let me get in front of them. i just wanted to comment for a couple of minutes on the vote today on the convention on the rights of people with disabilities. i said earlier off the floor, i
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said this was a shameful day for the united states senate. and i mean it. today was a shameful day for the united states senate. to turn our backs on a convention, a treaty which was based upon the americans with disabilities act in our own country that's now 22 years old and has done so much to enhance opportunities for people with disabilities and their families, to turn our backs on that for no real reason, is something i have a hard time comprehending and i've been in the senate a long time now. you know, there are reasons people can come up with a vote this way or that on certain things, and usually most times they're very legitimate. people might have some legitimate concerns about a bill or an amendment.
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i could find no legitimate concerns about the convention on the rights of people with disabilities, legitimate concerns. we heard all this talk about, well, home schoolers, people -- home schooling their kids, that the u.n. was going to come in and take them away. nonshens --, nonsense, utter, sheer nonsense. and so what happened today was the triumph on the senate floor of fear. unfounded, unreasonable fear triumphed over experience, the experience we've had with the americans with disabilities act, reason, rational thought. unfounded fears that somehow, someplace, somebody's going to do something out of the u.n., they're going to come in and take over something.
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but we proved, proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that none of our laws had to be changed, this gave the u.n. no authority over our country or our laws or anything, and yet this unfounded fear took hold. to the point where people who were sponsors of the bill voted against it. sponsors of it now just turned around and voted against it. again, for what reason, unfounded fear. what message, what message did we send today to the rest of the world? a message that okay, we're pretty good, we did a lot of good stuff in terms of passing legislation to uphold the rights of people with disabilities, to break down barriers, give
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people with disabilities opportunities, same as everyone else. we've become a better country for it, a better nation. other countries have come to us over the intervening last 22 years to find out how we did it, what they can do. so here was the united nations who said okay, we'll come up with a convention, a treaty, all countries, put it out for them to sign up which encourages them to pale actually emulate what we did. this would have given us a seat at the table. we would be sitting at the table, helping other countries to bring their laws more up to what ours are in terms of the rights of people with disabilities. but we turned our backs on that. turned our backs on it. you know, mr. president, if -- there are a lot of things that make america a shining city on a hill but there's one thing
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that no one can dispute that does put america as a shining city on a hill, and that is the americans with disabilities act, and what it has done to our society. like our civil rights act. what it's done to break down the barriers and to show that people with disabilities can contribute to society, if only given the chance and the opportunity. i would think that we would want for them to then say yes, we'll be a part of a worldwide effort to break down those barriers against people with disabilities we want be part of a worldwide effort that says it's not right, it's not okay, to leave a baby on the side of the road to die simply because that baby has down syndrome. you would think we would want to
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be part of an effort, a global effort that says it's not all right to keep kids out of school and away from education because they have a physical disability, they use a wheelchair. or an intellectual disability. you would think we would want to be part of an effort like that that says it is not okay to put people in cells, chained to cells, whose only crime is that they are disabled. you would think we would want to be part of that effort. we've done that in this country. we've done wonderful things. and yet some fear, some unfounded fear that the united nations is going to come in with a black helicopter or something, i don't know what, and say you can't home school your kids.
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absolutely -- look, the americans with disabilities act, we've had it for 22 years. did it stop home schooling? of course not. did it lead to more abortions? of course not. mr. president, after this vote vote, after it was defeated, i walked out into the reception room, the senate reception room. there were a throng, a number of people that in the disability community, they were crushed. just crushed. they could not understand this. how could it be? every disability community in america, every disability organization supported this. mr. president, we had 21 veterans organizations. everything from the american legion to the v.f.w. to amvets
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to disabled american veterans, vietnam veterans of america, 21, every veterans group supported this. i ask, were these veterans groups so dumb, so blind, so misled to support something that is going to give the u.n. to right to come in and take kids out of your home? that's what people are saying. they don't get it, huh? these veterans groups. is that what they were saying, they don't understand this? well, of course they understood it and they know those were unfounded fears. walk out and see yoshiko dart holding justin dart's hat. god love him. a man who used a wheelchair most of his adult life, traveled to
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every state in this country day after day after day after day to get people to organized to support the americans with disabilities act, justin dart. well, he's since passed on but his widow carries his hat around and she had his hat there. and they were just crushed by this vote. how could we turn our backs on something so important to our country and the world? pat wright, others. before we had the vote we had a wonderful ceremony in the dirksen building honoring bob dole. you see, yesterday was the international disability rights day. international disability rights day yesterday. so they wanted to honor bob dole for all he'd done, and it was a wonderful event, wonderful. i saw people over there honoring bob dole for all the work he he'd done on disability rights who voted against the bill today.
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i saw them, i thought wait a minute, since they're going to honor all the work bob dole had done on disability and bob dole was one of the strongest supporters of the crpd as it's called, came over here today in his wheelchair with his wife, former senator elizabeth dole. and yet -- and yet people voted against it. i don't get it. veterans. mr. president, there was a young veteran sitting in the gallery today and i met him yesterday the first time, senator kerry spoke at length about him, his name is dan brzezinski and i'm going to ask consent to put his op-ed in the record at the conclusion of my speech. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: as i also want to put the list of the veterans groups that supported the bill.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: afterward. but danner -- but dan berezanski, i'm not going to read the he doughnut hole whole thing he said for 25 years of my life i played football and soccer and even ran a few marathons. he went to west point. graduated from west point. then went to afghanistan and had both of his legs blown off. he walks on prosthetic legs now. and he talked about going to south africa on a trip and the fear that gripped him, the fact he couldn't get around, couldn't get in a hotel, had curbs, all kinds of problems he doesn't have here. i saw dan out here in the reception room after the vote. he'd been sitting in the gallery. he came down. and i went up to him and i said dan, what can i say? i'm sorry. i'm sorry. but i said we'll come back
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again. we'll come back again. we're going to come back at this again. but i said i'm sorry. you know what he said to me? he said you know, senator, watching in and seeing this makes me want to get just about as far away from politics as i can. is that the message we send to young veterans, young heroes like this? well, mr. president, i don't want to take any more time. others want to speak. i just -- as i said just a shameful day. i do say that we'll be back, senator kerry will be back, senator mccain, again i give them the highest plaudits for what they did, senator mccain and senator kerry and senator mccain about a magnificent job, senator lugar in carrying this bill forward. i know they don't want to give up, either. i was hoping that we could pass it before senator lugar leaves the senate, it would have been
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just another wonderful thing that senator lugar had done during his time here in the united states senate. but i guess that's not to be. but we'll be back in january or february, senator kerry is committed to doing that, bringing it back to the committee, so we'll be back again and i hope that over the christmas break and new year's i hope those that didn't vote to support this will search their conscience, search their souls, think more about our being involved in this and having a seat at the table and helping the rest of the world change their laws. i hope that when we come back that we'll have some reconsiderations and people recognize that, well, maybe the first vote, maybe that was not the right vote and, you know, change their vote and maybe we can get it passed then. that's my hope and i hope that we can get to that when we come back after the first of the year. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont.
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mr. leahy: while the senator from iowa is on the floor and i'll be very brief because there are others waiting to speak, i'm so moved and touched by what he had to say. i had the privilege of being in that room with the senator from iowa, senator harkin and senator dole, both senators dole, senator bob dole and senator elizabeth dole. you referred to justin darts -- justin dart's widow and his hat was there. you and i saw him wearing that hat the day the disability legislation was signed into law on the white house lawn. in fact, i have a photograph i took of you standing there. mr. president, i've had the privilege of serving in this body every day that tom harkin has been here. nobody has spoken out more
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eloquently than -- about the need for the disabled than senator harkin has. i know how he learned sign language this he could communicate with his brother. i've seen him with members of the disabled community. he is loved and he is respected. this was not the senate's finest day. it was not "profiles in courage" to see what happened. i'm glad to see you mentioned the veterans, as though any of them would stand for something that would take over many our country. many of them lost limbs fighting for our country, fighting for the security of this country, and they represent people who died fighting for this country. so this is one senator who will be here next year and i pledge to the senator from iowa and to senator kerry, my seatmate --
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actually, i have -- i have one sitting on either side of me -- that i will be here and i will support you every step of the way. i yield the floor. mr. harkin: i want -- mr. president, gist want t -- io thank my good friend, my former chairman with whom i've served with all these years here in the senate for his very kind remarks, his kind words. but more than that, i thank him for his many kindnesses that he's shown me and for upholding i think the finest traditions of the united states senate. i say, pat leahy, when you think about a senator and what a senator should stand for and what a senator should do and how a senator should conduct himself or herself, you have to think about pat leahy. he's just been a stalwart here. always willing to work with people, always willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt, always willing to help move things through the senate.
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and, you know, that's -- that's the way the senate used to be, pat. it used to be that way. and thank god we still have people here like pat leahy. i yield the floor. oh, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. whitehouse: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: madam president, may i ask unanimous consent that the -- are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mr. whitehouse: may i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you. madam president, tens of millions of middle-class families face the distinct possibility of higher tax rates in january. with so many americans who are still struggling to find their economic footing after the
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deepest recession of our lifetimes, these looming tax hikes would be hard for those middle-class families and they are completely unnecessary. newspaper stories day after day on the so-called fiscal cliff often omit that the senate has passed legislation to shield 98% of families and 97% of small businesses from the income tax part of this so-called fiscal cliff. we passed the middle-class tax cuts act on july 25 of this year and we sent the measure to the house of representatives. did speaker boehner and the republicans in the house promptly pass this popular bill and send it to president obama for his signature? did they move to protect 98% of
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middle-class families from this tax hike in january? no. no. they decided to hold the middle-class tax cuts passed by the senate hostage in an attempt to push for tax cuts for the folks they care the most about, the top 2% of highest earning households. republicans fighting for millionaires and billionaires is not a new story. in 2001, president george w. bush decided to spend a large portion of the surpluses he inherited from president clinton to cut tax rates. many democrats opposed him then because the tax cuts were unfair, favoring the highest-income americans. to overcome that obstacle, the republicans resorted to a
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parliamentary technique, budget reconciliation, a maneuver that allowed for passage of their tax cuts but forced them to expire after 2010, at the end of the ten-year budget window. so we scroll forward to 2010. as 2010 ended, president obama and many democrats in congress, including myself, wanted to extend the tax cuts for middle-class families but let rates on income above $200,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a family revert to the clinton era levels. our senate republican friends filibustered that effort, refusing to allow the middle-class tax cut without a tax cut for the highest incomes as well.
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their hostage strategy worked that time and the president and senate democrats reluctantly agreed to extend the tax cuts for two more years. so now the two years is up and these tax rates are again set to expire. that's why senate democrats passed the middle-class tax cuts act in july. this measure balanced our desire to keep tax rates low for middle-class families against the urgency of addressing our national budget deficits. by keeping tax rates low for 98% of americans and letting the tax rates go up very modestly for families earning over $250,000 a year, the democratic plan would cut the deficit by as much as a trillion dollars over the next decade. now, that alone doesn't cure our budget imbalance, but along with fair and sensible tax reforms
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and smart cuts in spending, it is part of the solution. let's be clear about one thing. the middle-class tax cut act would still benefit high-end taxpayers. families making over $250,000 a year would pay lower tax rates on their first $250,000. so if a family made $255,000, they'd only see an increase on the top $5,000 and then only to the clinton era rates that were in effect during the 1990's when, as we all recall, our economy was thriving. under the senate-passed plan, a family earning $255,000 a year would pay an extra 150 bucks in taxes. in opposing the middle-class tax cuts act, republicans claim that it would hurt the economy to
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raise tax rates on the top 2% of income earners. speaker boehner reiterated that line last week, saying, "it will hurt small businesses. it will hurt the economy." well, that is vintage republican political theory but it's just not supported by the facts. in a recent report, the nonpartisan congressional budget office estimated that extending the middle-class tax cuts would boost our national g.d.p., our gross domestic product, by 1.25% next year. it said the economic effects of extending only the middle-class rates are similar to those of extending all of the rates. why? because upper-income taxpayers are less likely to spend their tax savings back into the economy. in other words, c.b.o. reports we would get virtually no
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economic bang for our federal buck by extending the upper-income tax cuts the republicans are fighting for. c.b.o.'s analysis is confirmed by the experience of real-world business people. madam president, i ask consent to enter into the record at the conclusion of my remarks an op-ed by former stride rite c.e.o. arnold hyatt, titled "smite the myth that tax cuts create jobs." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehousemr. whitehouse: mt founded a successful small business before selling it to stride rite and then becoming c.e.o. he says -- and i quote -- "as every good businessman knows, the soundness of a company and its ability to create jobs do not rest on lower taxes or tax avoidance for the company or its senior management. it is a fiction," he continues, "pure and simple that taxing
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so-called job creators will have an adverse effect on the economy." mr. hyatt goes on to explain -- and i'll quote again -- "in the years we were creating so many jobs, my federal income taxes on the top slice of my income were sometimes as high as 70%, but these rates never discouraged me or anyone else from hiring workers or growing a company. today we're paying about half that on the top portion of salaries and fees and a meager 15% on the big chunk of our income that comes from investments. that's why i and many other millionaires pay a lower income tax rate than many working american families." he continues, "many millionaires never create any jobs at all. those who do will create them regardless of the tax rate and certainly won't be dissuaded by the small increase of about five percentage points that the president has proposed."
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he concludes this way: "the myth ofmillionaires as job creators being turned off by higher taxes is the creation of some members of the u.s. house and u.s. senate who are funded by these same millionaires. they know little of what makes companies successful." that is the c.e.o. of stride rite shoes. if we extended the upper-income tax cuts for another year, it would add over $49 billion to the deficit. even in washington, $49 billion is real money, money that would have to be borrowed, adding to our debt problem. believe it or not, republicans who voted to turn medicare into a voucher program in the name of deficit reduction, support adding to the deficit with high-end tax cuts. in rhode island at least, those
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are lousy priorities when it comes to deficit reduction. we should let the tax cuts at the top expire for reasons also of fairness. loopholes and special provisions allow many super high income earners to pay lower tax rates than many middle-class families. according to the nonpartisan congressional research service, 65% of individuals earning a million dollars or more annually pay taxes at a lower rate than median income taxpayers making $100,000 or less. 65%, nearly two-thirds, of individuals earning over a million dollars a year actually pay a lower tax rate than median income taxpayers do. that is a tax system that has turned upside-down and needs to be fixed. earlier this year, a majority of senators voted to advance my
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"paying a fair share act," the buffett rule bill to ensure that multimillionaire earners pay at least a 30% effective federal tax ray. the rate they're supposed to pay is 35% under the income tax laws but because of all these loopholes and special rates, i.r.s. statistics show the top 400 taxpayers in 2008 who earned, by the way, an average of $270 million each that year, paid the same 18.2% effective tax rate that's paid by, for instance, a truck driver in rhode island. the single-biggest factor driving this inequality in the special low rate for capital gains that allows, for instance, hedge fund billionaires through the carried interest loop thole pay taxes at lower rates than their secretaries and
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chauffeurs. if we let the tax cuts at the top expire, those rates revert to 20% instead of 15%. now, 20% is still a low rate for someone making $is 0 $100 millia year, but it is closer to what a middle-class family is expected to pay. in short, allowing the bush-era tax cuts to expire for income above $250,000 is the fiscally responsible thing to do and the fair and proper thing to do. so why then hasn't speaker boehner called a vote? -- on the senate-passed middle-class tax cuts act? well, because threatening middle-class families with higher taxes is their strategy. to push for breaks for millionaires and billionaires. the hostage strategy with the
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middle class as the hostages, as republicans fight for who they really care about. if speaker boehner continues to ignore the senate-passed bill, i urge president obama to stand firm on his opposition to extending the upper-income tax cuts. the american people support that approach and we should not cave in to pressure. i'd also urge the president and congressional leaders to work to include the buffett rule principles in any deficit deal. letting the upper-income tax cuts expire and ensuring mult imillion dollar earners pay a fair share will assure the american people that we are working for them and not the special interests, as we allocate the burden of addressing our deficits. thank the chair. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. whitehouse: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: can i that the pending quorum call be lifted. officer without objection. mr. whitehouse: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 528, senate resolution 543. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 528, senate resolution 543, to express the sense of the senate on international parental child abduction. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. whitehouse: i further ask that the committee-reported amendment be agreed to and the senate proceed it a voice vote on adoption of the resolution as amended. the presiding officer: without objection. is there further debate? if not, all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, nay.
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the ayes appear to have it. the resolution is apartisan dod. mr. whitehouse: i further ask that the committee-reported amendment to the preamble be agreed to, the preamble as amend be agreed toed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate, and that any statements relating to the measure be printed at the appropriate place in the records a if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. on wednesday, december 5, 2012. that following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour deemed expired, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. that following leader remarks the senate be in a period of morning business for up to four hours with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each except where noted below and the time be divided as follows. the majority controlling the first 30 minutes, the republicans controlling the next 30 minutes. senator grassley controlling the
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next 45 minutes. the majority controlling the next 45 minutes. the republicans controlling the next 45 minutes. and the majority controlling the following 45 minutes. and that following morning business the senate proceed to the consideration of h.r. 6156, the russia trade bill. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: i am informed that we expect to complete action on the russia trade bill during tomorrow's session of the senate. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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the senate failed to pass the united nations disability treaty. what happened on the senate floor? >> ultimately they couldn't get the republican votes they needed. they got all the democrats and only god 61 votes to ratify a treaty. so they were about five votes short today in terms of getting that two thirds number. they only got 61. >> host: toss about this treaty. what was it proposing to do and
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might do supporters say it was necessary? >> guest: it's interesting that failed because it's a pretty simple innocuous treaty and factors of long that it was easy to get to the senate. essentially what it does is it's an international treaty to raise his disability standards around the world to the levels in the united states. we tacked the americans with disabilities act in 1990. things like that. countries don't have satisfied back on us with a goal is to get other countries around the world signed up to raise their standards for disabled citizens for others who may travel to the country. so since we already have the standards, just send a message to the rest of the world that we are on board and we support this. we want this to the road to come
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up to a standard. >> and the outcome of the treaty failed, so what were the concerns? >> well, there were concerns. a lot of them come down to people on the right who are very uncomfortable with the united nations. they don't check anything that has the u.n. label on it yesterday with the u.n. convention for the rights that people with disabilities. they were concerned about creating new committees, international bodies that could oversee disability laws. now reporters, everyone from george h.w. bush attorney general and a lot of republicans in the go experts as well said this would not change any u.s. laws, but there is a lot of distrust amongst conservatives that this could down the line create some sort of mandate for international body that might be future massive american lives and interfere with american standards on disabilities. >> host: how many other countries have signed up quite
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>> guest: more than 120 other countries. this is a widely supported trudi around the world. it was signed years ago now in the u.s. has been waiting to try and ratify this. this is sort of the low-hanging fruit i think for senator kerry and the foreign relations committee. there are a number of other international treaties they would've liked to get through the congress that they thought might be too politically charged. this one date that would be less controversial, so even that can get to the senate right now. >> host: address the letter sent by a block of 35 senators saying they would oppose any treaty product. he said this one, and even disabilities treaty with the low-hanging fruit. was it this one in particular they were concerned about? >> guest: the one they were concerned about was the peace treaty. that was something they also held hearings on december in the foreign relations committee. they haven't even tried to bring that up in a lame-duck case he
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didn't think they had the vote. with another international treaty, also a human suggestion that tries to put the crown growth on the way nations use and navigate the deep seas. but that also made similar concerns about creating international bodies and right now in the senate and with the conservatives on the republican side, anything that has u.n. in front of its name will have a tough time getting to third. >> emily cadei is a foreign-policy writer for cq, congressional quarterly. you can read her work at rollcall.com and follow her on twitter@emily cadei. thanks. >> guest: absolutely.
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>> for the first time, bradley melling's attorney spoke out publicly on his client. manning is accused of leaking classified documents on wikileaks. manny's pretrial hearing is underway. this is a half-hour. [cheers and applause] >> thank you. thank you. well, i really appreciate the turnout here and especially the turnout by the press. thank you for that. [applause]
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as many of you know, i have not participated any public events before today. i also avoid any interviews with the media. it was and still is my belief that bradley manning deserves an attorney that is focused on what is happening in the courtroom and only what is happening in the courtroom. that is why i have chosen not to do the interviews. but today however marks a milestone and is actually supposed to be really to the motions hearing that we were going through and it would mark the end of the motions phase, working our way into the trial phase. the motion we were doing and unfortunately still our muscle pretrial punishment mission and it's taken longer than expected, but i must tell you i'm not
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really that disappointed by it. i'm enjoying the opportunity to cross-examine those conditions. [applause] as they take an opportunity to reflect on the last years, i think it's fitting that we are here today at the end of the motions phase with a motion that brought the world's attention to this case. that was so bradley manning was being treated. bradstreet meant at quantico will forever be etched, i believe, in our nations history as the disgraceful moment in time. not only was it is, at this criminal. an entire group of individuals,
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who i no doubt our honorable men chose to turn a blind eye to how bradley was being treated. those who could affect change did not. they were more concerned about how the intention may be put on them if something happened to brad as opposed to what was their conduct to doing to brad. but it turns out those same people cared about something more than what they turned out to care about more with immediate impact and for that i must thank each and everyone of you here today. i must thank each and every one who is listening or watching because without you, change would not have been. your actions resulted in brad being moved from quantico to fort levin. make no mistakes about it.
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[applause] and with your action commentator connie and conditions he lived under for nine months came to an end. the magical waters to fort leavenworth apparently healed him and he was no longer required to live in the conditions he was then. we all know brad cannot be here tonight, but he knows tonight is happening and he wanted me to personally thank each and everyone of you, thank you for taking the time to write to him, for signing petitions, attending marches, rallies and other public events. thank you for writing to the military and to our government, complaining about these conditions. thank you for donating to these events, volunteering courage to
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resist and the bradley manning support network. most of all, he won me to thank you for caring, caring about him. the data we have waged for the last two years could not have been fought without your help and it has been a hard fight so far. we are currently have 450 exhibits in this case and that amounts to just over 20,000 pages of written notions and attachments. i am confident that the time this comes to a conclusion, the record of trial will be the longest record of trial and paramilitaries history. that record will reflect one thing, that we find at every turn, at every opportunity and we fought to ensure that brad received a fair trial. [applause]
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my office website can keep track of a few things to know what to share some numbers with you that i personally, i guess i'm happy to see. that is over 764,000 people to date have gone and read at least something about brad my webpage. we received over 7000 pieces of mail for brad. individuals have donated for the bradley manning defense fund. 754 supporters have donated directly to this fund managed by my office. and today, i went to take the opportunity to thank you. thank you for getting involved. thank you for taking the time
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and her busy life battle it be here today and listen to what i am saying, but thank you for caring about brad. thank you. when i'm in the courtroom i stand up and i looked to my right and they see the united states government. the united states government with all of its resources, all of its personnel, i see them standing against me and brad. i have to admit to you that can be rather intimidating and i was intimidated, especially when the president of the united states says your client broke the law, especially when congress members say your client deserves the death penalty. at what to tell you today is a stand here, i am no longer intimidated.
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i'm not intimidated because when i stand up i know i am not standing alone. i know i am not alone because they turn around and see the support behind me. if the numbers today in the audience that i care every time we have a meeting. i see what i affectionately call the truth battalion, those who are nothing -- they were things, but they were blackshirt that has the word truth on a conveyor behind me. and when i look there, i know that i also have unlimited personnel and unlimited resources. [applause] but perhaps the best evidence for me is i am not standing
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alone when i stand for brad is a website called im bradley manning got bored. i personally have to tell you i go to this site at least once a day. i go to decide what i need to recharge my batteries after working a long day on the case. and i just perused the photographs of people with a simple statement in front of their face. i am bradley manning. it's amazing the power but those words mean to each individual i do not know. i want to take a moment to share with you what that may mean for brad. during our countless conversations, i had an opportunity to type to him. i said brad, what do you want to do this eventually comes to
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play? you told me that his stream at you to go to college and getting a group. and at that time he was 23. that makes sense. we are now college degrees are pretty much the ticket to productive nature. so i asked brad with that degree, what do you plan on doing? is i want to go into public service. i asked him what he meant by that. he said i want to join some sort of campaign group, go into public service and perhaps one day run for public office. and i asked brad, why would he want to do that? he said i want to make a difference. i can tell you standing here today i hope that someday soon
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bradwell goes to college. i hope someday soon we can in fact go into public service. but i am confident as i stand here today that brad doesn't have to worry. he has made a difference. [applause] last tuesday to president of the united states signed into law the whistleblower protection enhancement act. as president of almost signing this bill into law, brad and i were in a courtroom with the unlawful pretrial punishment
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motion. i don't know the answer to that. one of our nation's most famous whistleblowers, daniel ellsberg has on multiple occasions spoken out for brad. history has been the ultimate judge of his courage and sacrifice. history has judged him while. i hope that history will judge private first class bradley manning in a similar light. but thank you for coming here today and they thank you are listening. [applause]
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>> okay, we have some questions from the press. >> i'm not promising answers. >> i'm sure members of the media have more questions. [inaudible] the first one is a two-part question. in your opinion, what sort of person is bradley manning? >> well, i think bradley is one of the more intelligent people i've ever seen. brad has the ability i think to talk about a wide range of topics. he's a young man obviously and with that he has limited experience. but brad does a lot of things
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from the heart. he tends to care a lot about people and so his conduct and his actions are usually driven by that. as far as mental state or how he has been i guess of mine today, i can tell you he is very excited about having his face go forward in the process. it's been a long time. and he's also at this point very encouraged. i think he feels good about his defense, at least i hope he does. and at this point, i believe he's confident things will turn out okay. [applause] >> what can ordinary citizens do to help brad?
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>> well, the biggest thing is to make sure that this case doesn't get lost and everything else going on. it is by far the most important military keys, but it is a case that has significance for all of us because in this country, in this country that i am proud to serve, we did in a country that is built on freedom of speech. we live in a country this biltong government accountability and informed citizens. so i think at this point, the biggest thing you can do is stay involved, stay informed and to make sure those elected into public office understand. [applause]
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>> have you perceive any difference in the way he's being treated -- [inaudible] >> i have not. i think bradley is treated professionally. the military court-martial is in my opinion the best courtroom to go into, both state and federal. i know anyone who doesn't have experience with the military system may view it with suspicious eyes. but from my days, it is by far the best courtroom for bradley to be in. >> had your experiences in the military and civilian life form how you approach court-martials generally? and this case specifically. >> that is what i was just saying. a lot of people would look at
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the military and say, this seems to be very important. you have an office there and enlisted taipan i'll come if you go with the panel selected by the person whose been court-martialed. you have a military judge that is in the military and there's some suspicion that person may be subject to some influence. so when you look at it from the outside, you can see and perhaps think the system is built to obtain a certain outcome. i can tell you confident enough in practice state and federal and military, that a court-martial is by far the fairest justice system that has ever cracked to stand. that may sound confusing. i'm getting books that i don't know about that. but let me tell you why.
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military judges are not just picked out at random. a military judge is somebody who's done in both untrue and most instances asked as a proxy cuter -- has seen both sides. also, that person usually has taken on the role of achieving military justice for a senior defense counsel. and so, from that if you have a lot of experience, plus once the judge becomes a judge can usually that person is a lieutenant colonel or kernel. people who go that route are not interested in tunnels. you've capped out at the top of where you need to be. you have somebody there that is truly experienced.
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they truly understand the period i will take a judge who knows the law and is very experienced over many of the judge bachrach used in state and federal. from a panel standpoint, if you go with the panel, a most everybody in the military wants to obtain a certain rank, as some sort of college degree. and they think that in and of itself speaks volumes about the person's ability to at least have an open mind. and so, we normally refer to military panels as blue ribbon panels. they represented many cases individuals at the bachelors is not a masters or doctorate. that may be surprising to some, but again the panels i practice
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in front of may not always agree with their outcome, but i do believe they take their job seriously. the state cherry i practice in front of is not always the case. they even note jury. so again, for those who look to this and say we sure in some other venue, i can tell you bradley is in the best venue possible. >> this is related to that question. how do you outsiders see more generally perceived as the other quick >> i i think a native answer that question. i can tell you that if you do in fact look at the rights, and this is more one-act top military law to nonmilitary
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attorneys, we would compare the various rights issue has in the state or federal court against the rights that you have been a military court. and every instance, the military court exceeds that you would have any state or federal court. so this is an issue in which a lot of times the suspicion, wednesday were informed, doesn't tearout. you start to believe that this is a very fair system. the suspicion i think of the military justice system is because in some regards its foreign obviously. never forget that the military is made up of basically our sons and daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers, just like yourself.
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it is in my mind not a perfect system, but it is one of the best systems that had the opportunity to practice. >> this may be the same kind of question. what do you take with you most of the military service? >> i think military service -- i can tell you a little background story about me. i was on active duty as a major. i just went through a course that would've ultimately put me on the track of lieutenant colonel and taken advantage as a military judge. and then i met my lovely wife, who we met at a new law professors conference. kind of neat way of meeting your spouse. but we met there and she changed my priorities.
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she is a law professor, so at least in our family she is the smartest one in nine at-bats. and so what we ultimately decided was i would hitch my heart to her horse. that's like either the military. at least from active-duty standpoint. when i got out was probably one of the worst times you could go out in the job market. and so, i couldn't find a job, even though i got the last rounds of job interviews, was never selected. as in an area where he didn't know people and that's pretty much how you find a job, by who you know. so i decided to go into state and federal part this and ultimately start a military base. i'll tell you that what they
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take to the military practice and what i think hope served me well is a lot of the people that they see in the military or former student of mine put it, through the ranks with me and they know them. and so, at least in that system you have the ability to sit down at a table with somebody and have a little bit of experience about them and know them to be able to talk to them. but for me now going into this case, obviously this has been a two year in the making case. the people i've been working against, some of them are former students. the relationships we have in this case are adversarial, but i this case are adversarial, but i can tell them you see in the courtroom they are working hard
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for their stuff and they believe in what they are doing. i think what a i pray most into the situation is i have a familiarity with the system and the terminology. if anyone steps in the courtroom, you hear a lot of acronyms. you hear about it freezes that if he weren't a military attorney would be very difficult to follow the conversation, let alone represent your client. so i think that's the experience they bring not only been known, but also just been familiar. >> can you explain what's going on with the change of date certain on february 4, march 15 -- [inaudible] >> outcome of the trial date has moved a couple times and a lot of times that is due to motion set of being argued. some of the motions are
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unplanned and may become issues only when you see, you know, a particular piece of evidence. in this instance we've got some issues that we are litigating that the defense receives a particular ruling, will require a delay in the proceedings of about two weeks. if we don't receive the ruling, the calendar will move back to last a couple weeks. in this interest it's all driven by a few of the motions. although as i started my speech in my remarks here today, we are nearing the end of the motions based and they really are transferring towards trial phase at this point. >> one of the charges is 80 the enemy. how could he try to think that charges to the press and whistleblowers in the age of the internet? >> yeah, i'll remove this from this case.
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so i will just say this is why i think it is a very important case for everybody. when you look at the offensive beating the enemy and take it out of this case, you simply say, if you can possibly aid the enemy by giving information to the press, with no intent at that information land in the hands of the enemy. by that direction allowed, that's a scary proposition . right there, that would silence a lot of critics of our government and that's that makes our government great in that we foster that and oftentimes when it's deserved, we make changes. so this is a very serious
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offense, not only for my client, but i think for anybody in america to pay attention to what it means to aid the enemy. so again, i think it is something that hopefully means some immorally giving information to the press. >> bradley manning stated last week he didn't want this case tried in the press. does he and do you feel the public interest accurately represented? >> well, i'll just answer that for my date. as i said to begin with, this public appearances the exception to the rule. i believe that trying the case in the press is not the way to the representation of a client. brad, at least from what he testified in the opening hearing
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didn't want his case to be tried in the price either in because that was his wishes early on, but also because my reviews you shouldn't try your case in the press, i respected his wishes and i didn't grant interviews. even after this date, i won't be granting interviews. the reason why again is because your focus has to be on your client and not basically putting out facts to spin something your weight in the press when that doesn't achieve anything in the courtroom. what you are in the courtroom, that's what matters. what happens there matters. and the price, as i said here today, what really matters is who the public been involved in being informed enterprise can do
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wonderful things. but i'm happy to see them here today. and that's what really resulted in brad dean moved come in my opinion from quantico to fort levin. >> are you in your client able to communicate freely underprivileged basis? >> yes, brad i speak at->> yes,t least once a week if not more than we obviously see each other quite often as well. our communications are always privileged. the never subject to any sort of recording are being monitored by anyone. because of that, they act basically as a conduit for brad, doing information and helping him stay in touch 10 informed. this connections are not monitoring. >> to fill the judge has so far
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been fair to your client and his bradley manning filled out by a slow? >> yeah, okay. that's a loaded question air, but i will say -- i will say that. but i would say is this, that when i look up to the bench and see the judge that most of that is always prepared, that seems to be two steps ahead of the council, then i am comforted by that. for me at least that makes me work harder. that makes me fear being in the courtroom and not being prepared. so in this case, i would say we have a judge that's exactly like that. so to the extent that michael saw some good advocacy in the courtroom, i can tell you that was because i would not want to see the judge look at me in the
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way of process, how do you come in to my corporate and not be prepared? and so, here i'm very happy with the judge that we have and her knowledge and expertise. >> that's the end of the questions for david coombs. [applause] >> we have had these explosions of knowledge in medicine, but we have not coordinated care and all the services we have end up having so many cracks at the cracks are as harmful as the disease is that we're treating. you've got to step back and ask,
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you know, are we hurting people overall? on a global level, what are we doing sometimes? of course now we've got these reports saying 30% of everything we do may not be necessary in health care. we sat back, 30% of the medications we prescribe, detest the order, the procedures. this is something i think, which is for the first time really been called out as a problem. >> as part of our series looking at the so-called fiscal cliff fleming, we look at different aspects of it. today we turn our attention to the alternative minimum tax and the pack that could come from congress if they're able to work out a deal. if they do nothing come of this
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will impact 30 million americans. joining us to discuss his georgetown laws, john buckley. thank you for being here. john buckley, let's begin. what is the alternative minimum tax? >> guest: in simple terms, the alternative minimum tax requires you to pay the greater of what you pay under the tax overshoot compute under the minimum tax, which has a slightly broader base. it disallows some deductions that would be allowed. in some respects, it is very similar to the tax on itemized deductions being discussed rather than directly attack preferences and expenditures, it essentially puts an overall cap on the benefit. there's no new ideas in this debate. the cap is a very strong relationship. >> curious form 625 from the irs
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for the 2011 tax preparation. here is part 1, the alternative minimum taxable income in all these instructions, 28 of them to help you come up whether or not you fall into the amt. how does this work? how do you know? >> guest: i believe you can only do this with computer programming. the program's tax return preparing you. if we didn't have computers repairing tax returns, i do believe the am t. would've been told a long time ago. if people really had to go through that form and try to figure out and fill in all the details, they would've been a a very strong revolt just against the complexity, much less the tax. it's extremely burdensome if you try to do it without tax return preparation. >> host: give us the history of the amt.
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>> guest: the amt in its current form was enacted in 1986. it is long megalith tax reform performance to have a robust minimum tax. their desire from a minimum tax credit the fact that they were unable to directly reduce tax expenditures. they saw this as a politically feasible way of attacking what they saw as unwarranted tax expenditures. like i say, similar to the current proposals. they enact it in 86 just at the time with their fondest dreams were realized. it is a very serious tax reform that really made the alternative minimum tax almost obsolete from the beginning. feel make tax benefit tonight in the alternative minimum tax after 86 are ones that most people would consider to be
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middle-class personal exemptions, the standard deduction, state, local, income and property taxes. those are the main deductions disallowed in the amt. after making 86, the amt was no factor. it does not apply to many people. it was not indexed. it gradually began to apply to more people. the real expansion of the amt came in after the 1997 reduction in the capital gains rate. the amt has a desired rate structure. it's effective rates are higher than ordinary rates over a broad segment of income. in 1997, to reduce the capital gains rate from 20% to 47%.
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people did russia to sell their capital assets to take advantage of the reduced rate. many of them found that the rate reduction went from 20% to 27%. they just switched taxes. the capital gains rate in the amt is higher than the regular tax rate from incomes around 200 to $500,000. that was the first broad expansion that had an awful lot of people. in 2001, the reduced regular tax rates, but did not reduce amt. for millions of people, and i'm one of those come in the 2001 tax bill only changed the name of the tax i paid. i got very little benefit for weight reduction because it was shifted over to the minimum tax.
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in my opinion, the expansion of minimum tax has nothing to do with the absence of indexing. it is a result of a conscious decision in 2001 to hide the cost of the bush tax reduction by leaving the amt in place. >> host: so the alternative minimum tax is 20%. what you are saying is after 2001, if you're tax rate was lower to 25% or something come you still have to pay the amt, which was 20%. >> guest: you're correct, but for incomes between $20,500,000, the amt effective tax rate is 35%. so you hit the 35% rate in the amt that incomes are lower than the income levels at which you would hit the 35% rate. there is this bizarre rate
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structure. >> host: why do they call it a patch? >> guest: they call it a patch because it is an ad hoc, one time, year by year patch to stop the bad expansion. you could ask, why do why do they call it a cliff? they have discussed this and it's been a year by year increase in the exemption. the patch is nothing but an increase in the amt exemption to prevent tens of millions of people from being forced to fill up the return you have listed there. the only thing i would add is what makes this so critical in the fiscal cliff discussion is we are talking about the patch for the 2012 tax year. unlike the rest of the fiscal
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cliff, which affects tax rates that will play next year, the patch applies to the return that we will all have to file early next year. so if there is not congressional action here, there is an abrupt increase in tax on the 2012 taxable year in 20 of 11 approximately 4 million people paid the amt. if there's not a patch, 30 million people will be required to pay the amt in 2012 for the current taxable year and they will pay an additional $90 billion in tax. very few of them have any idea. >> host: is the irs prepared? >> guest: the irs took a fairly unusual -- but i think
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correct position. they took the position that congress will do the responsible name. so they did their tax program for next year, for the 2012 return, assuming congress would enact the patch before the end. i think that was a reasonable thing to do because i believe they will do that. however, it does mean if there is not a patch, the tax return idling season next year would be quite chaotic. >> host: john buckley is our guest and we talk about the alternative minimum tax as part of the overall fiscal cliff negotiations. as mr. buckley just said, this impacts your 2012 taxes. if your comments or questions about this, tylenol. republican 202-88-5381.
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democrats to a 25852880. independents and others call in at 225-85-3882. does the amt dates back before the 80s? >> guest: it does date back to the early 1960s. with a tax reform proposal from kennedy. there's been a variety of tax. the current one is basically this version. >> host: this is the "washington post" graphic on the alternative minimum tax. right now the amt has around 5 million upper-middle-class families with many children or other deductible expenses and live in high-cost states. for the 2012 year, the amt is on track to effect an additional 26.4 million people reaching deep into the middle class because congress had not adjusted to tax. why is high-cost states a factor
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in this? >> guest: you have to have current income within the 20,500,000-dollar range because it's in high exemption. and also, they call it a blue state problem or place to upper income people and states with robust state income taxes. one of the biggest deductions is your deduction for state income tax. so currently, if you have a patch, it is a problem that falls between $200,500,000 of income. individuals with children since personal exemptions are not allowed and individuals reside in states with high income tax. >> host: talking about new york, california -- >> guest: new york, california, d.c.
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however, is your previous guest of knowledge, if you do not enact the patch, a family of four, married couple with two children would begin to face the amt income levels as low as $70,000. it's been described as a blue state problem because of its impact on the estate tax deduction. it becomes every state problem becomes an additional tax. >> host: while we are talking here, if you wonder whether or not you follow in the amt and whether it impacts you, if you go to tax policy center.org, they have a calculator that would hope you plug in the numbers and figure out whether he would apply to you to do anything. we hear from joe first. republican caller, go ahead.
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>> host: yeah, on the alternative minimum tax, we didn't hear this discussed at all in this last election cycle and to me, we just heard about the very rich to get their income through stock, you know, paying only 15%. it seems to me it will affect them and they will affect the higher rate and this is really the intention of the alternative minimum tax to have a minimum tax on the very rich. so my question is, is it working? why was not discussed in the election cycle? >> guest: i would argue it is not working. he particularly would not work if you do not have a patch. even with a patch, the way the amt works is they will increase taxes, for example, take capital gains come in the example you've
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raised. the tax rate in the minimum tax for a variety of technical reasons is 22%, not 15%. if your income is between $200,000.500000. once your income goes over $500,000, the amt rate, the capital gains rate drops down to mac 15%. it is a totally bizarre effect every structure which you have the higher marginal rate -- i'm sitting between 200,000, in 500,000 is wealthy by make estimation. but it's not as wealthy as making more than $500,000. so you have a structure that the moderately wealthy face higher effective tax rates than those which i consider to be truly well-off, making more than $500,000, white was discussed in the last election i can't tell you.
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it's not discussed enough. i believe in the current discussion at the clift either. this is often ignored in the fact that this takes effect for the 2012 taxable year does mean that it's not a gradual tax increase. it's a one-time very dramatic increase. >> host: why is it taken 25 years to fix the inflation adjustment for the amt? eliminate all deductions and just had amt for all. just go you know, some have proposed and it may be as a tax reform it may be cheaper from a revenue standpoint to repeal the regular tax, just because the base and restructure our what they are. i think it is the wrong type of tax reform, largely because it disallows families -- benefits and personal exemptions, the
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standard deduction. also, i believe the deduction for state income tax is a legitimate deduction in determining your net income. i don't see the deduction for state income taxes being a tax expenditure. when i pay tax to the district of columbia, that is my cost of earning net income and it should be to do and it should be to do, in computing my federal income tax liability. , in computing my federal income tax liability. it's not that, in computing my federal income tax liability. it's not that, in computing my federal income tax liability. it's not that >> host: here is diane and linda burrough, new hampshire. democratic caller, go ahead. >> caller: good morning. i'm fascinated to hear about the alternative minimum tax. it kills me every year. i am a small-business owner and the income fluctuates year-to-year. i could make maybe $80,000.1 year, $60,000 for next year. the next or i may make 45.
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every year i cannot possibly determine what the amt is going to be. a second mls return here. i made $60,000 i had amt $1700, a piggyback. could you please talk about this because i don't consider making $80,000 as a single person in pain or 10% of my social security and all other costs to be a lot of money. >> host: i don't disagree with you at all. the amt is not what you would have deliberately designed as a way to compute your federal income tax. it is the combination of a reform that was enacted after the need for the reform passed. it really is kind of strange that the amt was an in 1886 at the time that they correctly eliminated the preferences that
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were the argument for amt. again, i would say the real expansion of the amt and the real reason why you pay the amt is because of a conscious decision in 2001 to reduce the advertised cost in the bush tax cuts by leaving the amt rates in place. loss of revenue. if you haven't amt patch i'm fairly confident it is in your circumstance. this allowed the benefit of the bush rate reduction for a large number of people. now they need that in 2001 and they consciously let the amt in place because without the amt, the advertised cost of the bush tax cuts would be far greater than what they were estimated to be at that time.
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>> host: if you get a permanent fix to the amt, how much revenue loss with ip to the u.s. government? >> guest: if you left the current rate structure you have two scenarios. if you have the current rate s if you have the current rate structure in place, you're talking a one-year patch is $90 billion. that leaves the amt in place for 4 million people. you are talking well in excess of a trillion dollars over 10 years for repeal. i have to agree with congressman that no one believes that will come in. i think appropriately congresses going to enact in the amt patch on a year-to-year basis that will prevent an expansion, but will do nothing for the
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4 million who are to pay the tax. >> host: were talking about the alternative minimum tax, part of the overall so-called fiscal cliff talks here in washington. right wing on twitter puts it this way, and he was for us to grab the wealthy folks at the tax breaks. it wasn't tied to inflation, now it's getting the middle class. steve and alexander, virginia commuter next. >> caller: i have had to be in the minority that thinks the amt is a good thing because it arbitrarily raises the taxes on folks and government programs have to be paid for. i'm really intrigued with mr. buckley's statement that there is going to be chaos if the amt is permitted to go forward or that it's not patched in 2012. what chaos is going to happen? people will have to pay more taxes and it's not as if everyone is sitting around their tax offer right now,
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anticipating what their taxes are going to be. it's basically individuals will be hit with a tax bill, which is going to be calculated and quite frankly more simplified form than the standard tax law. >> host: professor buckley. >> guest: when i say chaos, i am referring to two things. first, the irs has done all of its internal programming based on the assumption that there would be an amt patch enacted by the end of the year. that would be a fairly large undertaking by the irs to change that. my assumption is most tax return preparation software has made the same calculated gamble. i agree with you the government needs revenue. i don't think there's any question of that. so if you just had amt is a good tax because it raises revenue, i
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don't argue on the notion that we need money. however, it is an extraordinarily arbitrary way of raising revenue and it raises revenue not from the super wealthy. the amt applies to few people making more than half a million dollars. to me it's just counterintuitive. if you're going to raise revenue, it should be as president obama has suggested, shared sacrifice and that sacrifice has to come from people making more than half a million dollars. >> host: how did the very wealthy get out of paying the amt? >> guest: it is because at the rate structure. the rates in the amt between 20500 are at least as high and most often higher than the rates in the regular tax. so if you are making in that
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income level, your capital gain and dividend income under the amt are subject to a 22% effective tax rate. if you're making more than half a million dollars, your dividends and capital gains income are subject to a 15% rate. so you have this weird rate in the amt and that's why yes it does raise a lot of money, but it does raise at a fairly arbitrary fashion. >> host: fillip in michigan, democratic caller. >> caller: hello. >> host: you are on the air. call code this isn't so much a tax question, but in the end it is that it can put our money in the government system. it used to work for a food company back in 72 and is very large including 3000 or more mostly because of union busting. at any rate but i'm getting out of all the people here for decades have lost our jobs.
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why not a government do something and cut their jobs. for instance, do we need the cia, the marshals, sheriffs, special agent here and there? why can't they get the federal bureau of police and how to cover everything and start paying off government agencies? >> host: that's philips idea. on twitter following up on the small business site we heard from saying they eliminated income averaging which is really helpful to small businesses with fluctuating income. >> guest: it was eliminated across the board. >> host: but does that mean? >> guest: under income averaging, if you'd fluctuating income like the women has come you will pay low rates when your income is low. you'll pay high rates when your income is high. the average may be higher than
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if you had constant income over that period of time. so at income gave you the ability to average your income over a period of years and pay tax at a rate equal to the average marginal rate that would apply to your average income. it was an attempt to address the fluctuating income problem. >> host: mike in boston maryland, republican. >> caller: yes, thank you for taking my call. i have a part-time job working for a nonprofit company. as far as i'm told at this point, the company doesn't even know if they have enough money in the budget for next year to keep me on, on their day to need me. also i am self-employed with my own company and nastier i took a
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$5000 loss. i was wondering how the next year is likely to affect nonprofits in my situation. >> guest: well, i think the nonprofits that we should be very concerned about the proposals about caffeine itemize deductions because it sounds neutral that everybody's deductions would be subject to a cap, but the practical effect of it would be borne out by the charitable deduction. if you are the nonprofits that there, you should think of these caps on itemize deductions as essentially being equivalent to a repeal of the charitable deduction. i mean, it's fairly simple thought here is that i'm an individual to take my own case, if there's a $35,000 or $40,000 cap on itemize deductions in
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employer provided health care, i will first fill a cap of my employer provided health care. i'm not going to turndown employer provided health care. and that for a lot of people is $18,000. you're beginning to fill the cap fairly quickly. he don't have a choice. you have to pay your property taxes. you have to pay your state income taxes, so take this deductions next. and then you get to your home mortgage interest deduction. you don't have a choice. you have to pay that. so the charitable deduction essentially comes last in line in these caps and therefore would have a tremendous impact on the charitable deduction. now i'm not economist, so i can't tell you what impact that would be an overall charitable giving. there are a lot of studies indicate it would be substantial
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reduction in charitable giving. you have to look at these proposals in the underlying detail because that's what i said originally. these proposals are very similar to the design of the amt. the motivation is the same. the motivation was that day to avoid the difficult political decisions involved in a direct attack on the preferences. it is the exact same motivation that gives rise to these proposals for capping deduction. >> host: what is allowed to be deducted if you fall into the amt? >> guest: it's easier to say what's not allowed. you cannot deduct your state and local income property or sales taxes. you cannot deduct personal exemption. this really i a tax on married this really is a tax on married couples. you cannot deduct what is called
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miscellaneous itemized deductions, which is fairly small. if you're an employee, not many employees have unreimbursed business. >> host: charitable deductions? >> guest: every other charitable deduction is allowed. the home mortgage interest is allowed, but very small changes. it is ruled the state local tax deduction and personal exemptions that are the major reason people falling to the amt and that's what it's a blue state problem because its impact on the state income tax. however, it also does have this bizarre rate structure that its rates are higher than the break in the rates for a period of time cannot see other recent people fall fall into it. >> host: the government creates a plan to target the rich and ends i've been
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hopelessly complex syntax in middle class. classic. kelley in a whisper go, kentucky. you're next. >> caller: hi, thank you for taking my call. there is a youtube video out of harry reid been asked a question, is the income tax voluntary? he says yes. he says he don't have to pay income tax because of the voluntary tax. my question is if it is a voluntary tax debate on how to pay the income tax, then why are we forced to and why are people put in jail when they don't pay it? >> guest: i have not seen the youtube video. i assure you that you should not treat it as a voluntary tax and file your return because it is a tax. a tax by its nature is an involuntary payment for the federal government.
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>> host: brad and remington, indiana, independent collar. >> caller: hi, thank you for making taking my call. my question to you, mr. buckley is there a start event so much scrutiny about the tax code and the people making over $250,000 a year, already being made fun of for pay too little where we are paying too much. my question to you is that if this tax is already adding money we have to pay, can't we just manipulate the tax code to where we would pay less? >> guest: when you say that he played in the tax law, hope you don't say you manipulating the tax law because you have to pay what do. >> host: finding loopholes,
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other things. >> guest: for individuals, the discussion of loopholes is again an attempt to avoid the difficult question that would be involved in a tax reform plan that limits tax expenditures. most of the loopholes work eliminated in the 1986 tax law that eliminated tax sheltering the individuals. so there aren't many special interest loopholes available to individuals. if you are talking about loopholes for special interest provisions in the individual income tax, you are looking at home mortgage interest deductions, charitable deductions, deductions for state and local income and property taxes and the taxation of your employer provided health care.
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those are the items that will be involved in any individual tax reform that either puts a cap on this benefits for repeals or eliminates those benefits to finance solar rate. as much as i would like to appeal to say very many special interest loopholes out there that we could just eliminate and finance a robust form, that's simply not the case in the individual income tax. i would argue it's different in the corporate income tax, where there are a lot of provision that could and should be changed and would result in increased revenues or permit a reduction in the corporate rate. so you really have to look at these things. there's different constraints whether you're talking about
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individual tax reform for corporate tax reform. >> host: we talk about understand the alternative in the attacks come apart at the overall fiscal cliff negotiations. john buckley, let me come at it this way. gpd amt? why and how? >> guest: i pay the amt because i have children and personal exemptions are not allowed. that is more historic. i children have now grown up. i live in the district of columbia to miss so i pay a fairly high level of state and local taxes. and i do have dividend and capital gains income that is subject to a 22% rate in the amt and the 15% rate in the regular tax. he put this all together, you pay the amt. >> host: how did you first figure that out? >> guest: in 1997, when
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congress reduced the capital gains rate, i along with many other people cheerfully went out and sold capitalize assets to take advantage cheerfully went out and sold cheerfully went out and sold for the 28%. never in my wildest imagination did i think i was a government employee with four children, think that a government salary would put you into the amt. turns out i was wrong and i received a fairly polite letter from the internal revenue service, informing me that i underpaid my alternative minimum tax. i was convinced that they were wrong, so i actually did go through -- it's the only time i must say i went through that form and concluded that they were correct and then sent them a check for the difference. >> host: so you have to pay the difference?
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>> guest: your amt is the difference between your amt grows playability and regular tax liability. you essentially pay the greater of the greater of the two is the easiest way to think of it. >> host: john buckley at georgetown law. as he said county was to govern employee served in congress for more than 35 years crafting all types of major tax legislation. chief tax counsel for the ways and means committee, chief of staff for the committee on taxation, also worked for opposite the house legislative council as well in congress. we will go to stephanie and d.c. independent collar, go ahead. >> caller: i heard someone say at once there is no fix for these and other things because these fixes are how the two parties raise funds. the appeal to the basis that these and raise funds. i think our problem is parties
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really. i hope everybody becomes an independent, i really do. but the only way we will solve our problems. my deal is the standard deduction. instead of having all these gyrations that these alternative minimum tax, the only deduction you should have this one that everyone gets. the only two that everyone gets is a standard deduction and the charitable deduction. the standard deduction, even in the simpduction, even in the simpson/bowles goes up to 12% for poor people, people who earn almost nothing unless you have children. so the standard deduction should really be an amount that is equal to twice the poverty level and that would help people most at the lower end and try to get into the middle class. and also, when you talk about the middle class up to 250,000,
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where are 90% of the people? how many people -- where's the 90% -- how much they earn that would include 90% of the people? >> guest: i would be making -- the median family income is around $50,000. the happy people make less than $50,000. if a reggae fan, i would say 100,000 t. -- i'm guessing here, but i would say about 100,000 would be the top 10%. the current standard deduction -- one of the basic aspects of this tax reform is increasing the standard deduction. currently the standard deduction is $12,000. that is essentially the poverty level for a family of four, although it seems -- i do
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believe that is close to the poverty level. they do get personal exemptions for their children, so your entry into the income tax is much higher than the poverty level. clearly increasing the standard deduction is the corporate way of doing tax reform. post to our life are democrats, kentucky, sam. >> caller: yeah. >> host: sam, you were on the air. >> caller: yes, ma'am, thank you for letting me call. it is going to ask a question or two. why is it that a rate of 2% don't want their taxes to go up? i tell you, the middle-class people in the low income people is the one they make their money off those. and if they would go ahead and
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go up on their taxes, they come out way ahead because they are the ones that pay them they are the ones they make their money off of. >> host: john buckley. >> guest: i could not agree more that i do believe that the economic impact of increasing taxes on the top 2% has been exaggerated, then they could have consequences. i also believe the caller is absolutely correct that the health of our economy and economic well-being of wealthy individuals in this economy require a robust middle class with demand for the goods and services corporations induce. and therefore that's why it's easy for me to be a democrat. you need to help the middle
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class. if the upper income people took the long view and that is ever going to have to be sacrifices in order to solve our budget, the question is, what group do you ask to make the sacrifice first? that is rightfully president obama is exactly correct. now i would also say this upper income people, their business will be better if that sacrifices first at the upper level and not by taking away social security and medicare benefits that reduce demand in a society for other goods and services. there is an economic argument that i think is beginning to see more, which is essentially what the caller did, that a healthy middle class with consumer demand from a healthy
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middle-class is what is needed for a healthy economy and therefore benefits all. >> host: kathleen pender writes in the chronicle that there is a silver lining when it comes to the amt. what is less known is the amt has a silver lining. assuming congress passes a patch, people in amt and stay in amt will be protected from an increase in regular income tax rates that the bush era tax cuts expire. that's because they will be paying a top amt rate of 20% come at you at the top regular rate is at 30.6%. this will be true for everyone in amt. people who fall out of the amt could see their taxes go up. >> guest: i would agree, however, i guess i agree only in very small part. first, the people on the amt that are left in the amt never got the rate cuts in the first place.
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so really to say they are adamant the image because they are not going to bear the price of the rate cuts going away it ignores the fact that they never cut the rate cut in the first place because they were paying the higher of the two rates. most people are not fully -- the margins here are small. even when i pay the amt, my actual liability is not real large. it's in the thousands, but not dramatically. so if the rates go up, i just switched. a switch or the amt to the regular tax. i don't think there is a silver cloud here. what i would say is those people who have already faced a cloudy situation in that they never got the bush tax cuts will not be harmed. the most people, the amt is not
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a good thing. >> host: mary and franklin, tennessee. you're up next, independent caller. >> caller: thank you for letting me get a line. i've a question for mr. buckley. the question is i have a little analogy for him. when you have a tv and don't plug it up, willett combines? >> guest: i don't believe so. >> caller: that's the way the republicans are. they are turned on, but they ain't plug in. >> host: diane, garden city, michigan. go ahead. >> caller: good morning, thank you for taking my call. here's my question. you had a caller previously he said she ran her own business and will be made between $80,000.60000 a year.
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he said it was something in the 2001 tax codes that they shut the tax onto her to get the rich the break. why is that the republicans talk about the small business owner $250,000 it's going to hurt them. what is the difference between somebody making under $250,000 in their small company versus this woman says her taxes have gone up? in other words, they are lying it was the small business owner under $250,000 that was being hurt and more taxes dumped on them. >> guest: i don't know the individual callers prior tax return. it would be very unusual for a taxpayer income in the $60,000 to $80,000 range to pay the amt. it's not impossible, but fairly unusual.
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in 2001, they enact a major rate reduction. they let the rate structure of the amt remain intact. that means for people between 1,200,500,000, the exact people potentially subject to this increase in tax under the obama plan did not receive the full benefit of the bush tax cuts. that is just a fat. if your income is over 500,000, you got the rate. as a product of a very bizarre rate structure. congress was quite cognizant of that rate structure when they enact their 2001 act and decided not to change it because it had the impact of making that tax
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cut look less unaffordable than it actually was. >> host: dennis, blatant, yutaka and independent caller. >> caller: good morning. i have a question for mr. buckley. i think it's a no-brainer. whenever any of my expenses went up, taxes included for taxes that were levied on one of my suppliers for anything under the expenses, i would turn around and up the cost of whatever i was doing to my customer and it seems to me that whatever the tax increase is to businesses, small, medium or large, unless the philosophy has changed a whole lot, they will turn around
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and pass the extra expenses onto their customers who would even middle-class. has this occurred to anyone who is making all these plans yet? i will take my answer off the air here. >> guest: there is a large dispute of who bears the burden of the corporate income tax. most people would suggest the individual income taxes born by individual taxpayers and they do not have the prerogative of passing it on to their customers. we have wage inc customers. we have wage income and we have to bear the burden of the tax. i am not certain that it is past time. and maybe in some circumstances what you are talking about. based on my experience in congress, the perception is the income tax is borne by the
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individual taxpayers, not passed on. if you were easily passed on, there would not be organized lobby groups. .. >> caller: sitting down right now and deciding what you're going to do about it come january 1st. i